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Lively makes strong case for No. 5 starter job

MLB.com @ToddZolecki

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Right-hander Ben Lively put himself in a solid position to be the No. 5 starter after pitching five scoreless innings in Tuesday's 2-0 rain-shortened win over the Blue Jays. He allowed just three hits and struck out four, which included three swinging strikeouts.

Lively has a 2.84 ERA (six earned runs in 19 innings) this spring.

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CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Right-hander Ben Lively put himself in a solid position to be the No. 5 starter after pitching five scoreless innings in Tuesday's 2-0 rain-shortened win over the Blue Jays. He allowed just three hits and struck out four, which included three swinging strikeouts.

Lively has a 2.84 ERA (six earned runs in 19 innings) this spring.

View Full Game Coverage

Phillies manager Gabe Kapler praised Lively's ability to get more swings and misses on Tuesday. Hitters whiffed on just 17.8 percent of their swings against him last year, which ranked 235th out of 251 pitchers (minimum 500 swings). Kapler thinks that rate can improve based on improved pitch sequencing.

Lively cited the heat maps he reviewed before the game in helping him on Tuesday. He struck out Curtis Granderson swinging twice, specifically crediting that information.

Video: TOR@PHI: Lively cites fastball for improvement

Leiter out until late April, early May
Mark Leiter Jr. has a strained flexor pronator in his right arm. He will not throw for the next two to three weeks. He could rejoin the Phillies in late April or early May.

Leiter had been having a nice spring. He had struck out 17 and walked just three in 12 1/3 innings. He stood an excellent chance of making the team, either as the No. 5 starter or as a swingman in the bullpen.

Video: Kapler discusses timeline for Arrieta, Leiter

"We had planned on him being a meaningful piece on our Major League roster," Kapler said. "And we still think he's a meaningful piece on our Major League roster. Perhaps because we're going to be able to limit his innings on the front end, perhaps that's a real silver lining for him right now. In September and October, he's going to be healthy with plenty of innings."

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

Right-hander Jake Thompson, non-roster invitee Drew Hutchison or perhaps even Lively could be in line for that swingman role.

Camp battles
Utility player Pedro Florimon turned two great double plays against the Blue Jays. He also tripled to score a run in the second. He is a legitimate candidate to win one of the two remaining bench jobs. Three jobs might be available, if the Phils decide to carry an extra bench player as they do not need a fifth starter until April 11.

Video: TOR@PHI: Florimon smacks an RBI triple to right

Roster moves
The Phillies reassigned catcher Logan Moore, outfielder Andrew Pullin and infielder Mitch Walding to Minor League camp. That leaves 44 players in big league camp.

Up next
Listen live to an exclusive webcast as right-hander Vince Velasquez starts at 1:07 p.m. ET on Wednesday against the Blue Jays in Dunedin, Fla. Velasquez (1-2, 3.48 ERA) lasted just 2 2/3 innings in his previous start last week vs. Toronto.

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Philadelphia Phillies, Pedro Florimon, Drew Hutchison, Mark Leiter Jr., Ben Lively, Vince Velasquez